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Saying one thing, thinking about another: AI can assess interview candidates’ suitability

The reasons for focusing on personality constructs was because, according to the research model used, personality predicts job performance across jobs.

Advances in digital recognition software. Image by Tim Sandle, from Barbican, London.
Advances in digital recognition software. Image by Tim Sandle, from Barbican, London.

Automated video interviews (AVIs) that use artificial intelligence (AI) to assess job applicants interview responses provide a potential screening tool for larger employers. These technologies, if the apparent successes hold out, can be used concurrently with job curriculum vitae submission in order to screen candidates ahead of the next stage in the application process.

The research, from Virginia Tech, was based on AI analysis of video, determining psychometric properties: Reliability, validity, and generalizability from automated video interview personality assessments.

The research began with the scientists collecting four samples of mock video interviews as well as self-reports and interviewer observations of the interviewee’s “big five” personality traits: conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, emotional stability, and extraversion.

The reasons for focusing on personality constructs was because, according to the research model used, personality predicts job performance across jobs.

The algorithms modelled for the study analysed three types of cues:

  • Verbal cues, or what the interviewees say, such as positive and negative language.
  • Paraverbal cues, or how they say it, such as loudness or speech rate.
  • Nonverbal cues, or how they act during the interview, which includes facial expressions such as smiles and frowns.

According to Louis Hickman, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology: “Using AI algorithms to evaluate interviewees helps human resources personnel winnow down the applicant pool prior to having any direct communication with the applicants.”

The researcher adds: “This reduces the actual time it takes to hire a new employee and saves organizations money.”

Hickman takes the view that the use of AI enables more applicants to express their skills, qualifications, and passion for the position in a way that the relatively static reading of a job application cannot deliver.  

In terms of showcasing the AI, Hickman states: “AVIs potentially represent an objective, consistent method for evaluating candidates, providing a promising tool for organizations aiming for a fairer hiring process.”

The researchers proposed a model for understanding automated video interviews and assessing the construct validity of AVI scores that can also be used to evaluate AVIs for measuring knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics beyond personality.

The model has yet to be tested for robustness in terms of any impact toward underrepresented demographic groups

The research has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, titled “Automated video interview personality assessments: Reliability, validity, and generalizability investigations.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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